Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Black Gold and Other Soil Amendments"

   Well this is the time of the year when I will tuck most of my beds in for the winter, other then the one that I plant fall/winter crops in! There are many things to do in the fall but to me the must important thing to do is soil preparation for next year, The soil is the "Heart of the Garden".
 There are at least four factors to consider in selecting a soil amendment:
  • how long the amendment will last in the soil,
  • soil texture,
  • soil salinity and plant sensitivities to salts, and
  • salt content and pH of the amendment.
 Soil tests can determine the salt content, pH and organic matter of organic amendments. The quality of bulk organic amendments for large-scale landscape uses can then be determined.
  Remember each plant that you have planted has had its fill of a lot of the minerals and vitamins that are in the soil. So its our job to help replace those key elements so we can get the best out of our garden next season. Some people will plant a cover crop, which with my bed that I have kept open for fall/winter crops that what I will do but with the others I believe I will just use good old "Black Gold and Other Soil Amendment"!

The Redeemed Gardener
   If you don't know what black gold is, it's the product of those free compost bins I made in the beginning of the year. Read more on that at "Dirt Cheap Compost" and don't worry if you live in the city you can have compost with the "Champion Composters", worms! Here to the right is a hand full of the finished product out of my compost bins. I also mixed in equal parts of horse manure that I got for free from a friend of mine at church, you remember her from the trip we made to see her new born baby goats! All I had to do is go pick it up and they are glad to get rid of it! After I worked that into my beds, I took a couple scoops (about the size of a large coffee can) of die chicken manure and scattered it on top of the soil. Chicken manure is very rich in stuff that the soil needs. I got 5 gallon buckets of it for free as well from a friend of mine that owns chickens and by just asking he gave me some! Then as with the other Amendments I work it down into the soil.
Chicken Poop in a Bucket, lol!
  Why work it into the soil, because amending a soil is not the same thing as mulching, although many mulches also are used as amendments. A mulch is left on the soil surface. Its purpose is to reduce evaporation and runoff, inhibit weed growth, and create an attractive appearance. Mulches also moderate soil temperature, helping to warm soils in the spring and cool them in the summer. So that leads me to the final thing that I do to tuck them in for the winter and that's put a good layer of my mulched up leaves/grass mix, from the yard right on top of the soil, about 4 to 6 inches will do. Then I will work that in in the early early spring to the soil as well. You can also use bark mulch as well and here is a great video to watch on the use of mulch in the garden, "Back to Eden". These are just some of the things I do to get the soil prepared for winter and for next season. There are also many different "Organic and Inorganic Amendments" out there, I just chose Organic for all the best reasons! Here is a very good article I found from "Gardener's Supply Company" that is more in depth from the professional side of this subject. Remember I am a simple farm boy (living in the city) that has been known to be called "Jethro" before, lol! Those of you that haven't been with me for a while should read that article for a good ol knee slapper of a laugh!
  So for us simple folks here is a recap:
  •   Test your soil, to see what it is missing and what type it is
  •   Locate the type of Amendment you need for your garden (free/organic is best)
  •   Work you Amendment into your soil
  •   Tuck your Garden in with a good layer of mulch, (leaves, bark, news paper, etc)
  •   And let God do the rest, "He Promises"

"You must keep all earthy treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart." ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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  1. New fan here by way of Homestead Revival. I would love for you to come share at my Farm Girl Blog Fest:
    And while you're visiting, enter to win an Egg Selter too!
    Fresh Eggs Daily

    1. Thank you for stopping in! I will hop over and join up with you!

  2. Nice post! We compost and add to our soil,and we plan to plant a cover crop this winter too.

  3. Thanks for sharing from your experience. Since we have very sandy soil here on our new homestead we have brought in several trailer loads of horse manure from a neighboring ranch (who was just glad to get rid of it) to prepare the ground for planting. We also have burned many piles of brush and palmettoes after clearing part of our land, and have scattered the ashes as well. Our rabbits, chickens, and goats have also added their contributions (manure). As you mentioned, we will then mulch, hopefully with loads of wood chips from someone looking to get rid of theirs.

    Have you ever heard of using urine as a fertilizer, since it is very high in nitrogen? We haven't yet, but it sounds like a sustainable option.

    1. Thanx for stopping in! Sounds like you have a lot of work ahead on your soil! Check out the video link "Back to Eden" that I posted, it will help you all. Yes I have heard of using urine for fertilizer. Grass clippings work just as well and will help you sandy soil faster!

  4. Good to see you! That does look like some wonderful soil!

    1. Trying to calm things down around here to visit more, lol!

  5. Chick "stuff" is plentiful around here and it's great for heavy feeding plants. Great post!

  6. You have lovely soil; am sure it will bring forth much produce...well done!

  7. Good post! I believe firmly in the power of compost!

    1. Thanx Beth! Great Soil is the foundation of a great plant!

  8. I would LOVE for you to share this very informative post with thousands of backyard chicken-keepers who have plenty to contribute to the making of black gold on the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    I hope to see you there!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thank you Kathy, I am going right now. It is good to meet you as well, please stop back in anytime!

  9. I remember those bins - I'll have to see if Dearest will make a couple for me - desperately need this black gold! Well done! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  10. I don't have a lot of area to cover but am very active gardening in what I call "normal" (non-cold!) weather. So my bin is one of those fiberglass-type recycling bins. The town makes a compost from leaves and tree wood, so I combine that, coffee grounds, and all sort of plant material from around the yard and the kitchen into my compost. Basically try for a lot of variety to be included. The results are so great that I can't understand why anyone would not compost!